Welcome to the third “episode” of Akihabara Shopping, the weekly column that will give you a small glimpse on the coolest games that will be released next week in Japan. Some of them may sooner or later see a western localization, while many will remain an exclusive luxury for importers and Japanophiles (even because games in Japan cost more or less twice as much as in the US). If you missed last week’s episode, you can check it here.
Of course this column doesn’t cover all the games, consoles and accessories that will be released in Japan next week, as there’s a whole lot, as always (and in the PS vita launch week I’d make the site explode, as there are 30 pages of stuff on Amazon Japan coming out in those seven days), but I’ll try to select the most interesting for your reading and viewing pleasure.
The first game of the week is really easy pickings. After a long wait Final Fantasy Type-0 (ファイナルファンタジー零式) will finally hit the Japanese stores on October the 27th for the PSP.
For the few that still don’t know, the game is set in the continent of Oriens, split between four nations: the Milites Empire, the Lorican Alliance, the Kingdom of Concordia and the Suzaku Fiefdom of Rubrum. The main characters belong to the Class Zero of the Suzaku Peristilium, the most prominent magic school of Rubrum. When the forces of Milites led by Cid Aulstyne (yes, you read correctly, this time Cid is a villain) conquer Lorica and Concordia and finally force Rubrum to surrender, Class Zero refuses to do so, and puts itself at the forefront of a bitter resistance war.
Final Fantasy Type-0 is quite different from most Final Fantasy games, featuring real time combat and even incorporating RTS elements. I have no doubt that the usual Japanhaters will be absolutely outraged by the school setting (like they were for Valkyria Chronicles II), but we don’t really care about those, do we?
In any case, the game is shaping up as one of the best of the franchise, so we can only hope that Square Enix will soon announce a western localization. You can see a trailer below:
The second game for today is another rather big one, the PS3 version of The Idolm@ster 2, that will be released on the 27th as well. The Xbox 360 version (Idolm@ster is traditionally an Xbox franchise) has been out for almost a year, but obviously the PS3 one is much more awaited locally, considering the difference in popularity between the two consoles. The fact that this version will also include the metric ton of DLCs that the ten Japanese 360 owners had to pay a pretty penny for definitely helps, besides fueling controversy between the fans.
The plot is deceptively simple, as the player is given the role of the production of a idol agency, and free reign over a group of thirteen young ladies that want to become famous idols. I say “deceptively” simple, because the game is actually extremely complex. Not only there’s a quite challenging rhytm game component, but our producer has to combine the different personalities of the girls, chose their styling, smooth out their rivalries and generally make them grow with his own sweat, tears and blood.
The game will be released in a standard edition (that includes a poster) and a huge “Special Box” that includes too much stuff to be listed without taking up half of this article.
You can actually check the demo on the Japanese PSN (it doesn’t require you to really know Japanese to play, and it’s actually quite fun), and a trailer below. Don’t hold your breath too much on this one getting localized in the west: overseas licensing rights for rhythm games are a veritable mess.
The third game for today is a little more obscure than the previous two, but no less interesting: Senritsu no Stratus (戦律のストラタス, Terror of Stratus) a PSP action adventure with absolutely gorgeous graphics (at least for the PSP), and lovely anime cutscenes and character design, slated for release on the 27th (yes, I know, everything is being released on the 27th. It’ll be a judgement day in Akihabara).
The game is developed by Nudemaker, the same studio that made Infinite Space, and published by Konami. It’s one of those games that I really would like to see in English, but that I hold little hope for, unfortunately, especially since it’s a PSP game.
The player takes the lead of the Imperial Task Force 6, as humanity is risking to go extinct due to the invasi0n of a race of incorporeal creatures called Meme, that launched a gigantic weapon named Lunar Stratus on Tokyo. The setting is rather classic, but the plot is actually very complex and involves a lot of character interaction and evolution.
As usual, you can enjoy a trailer below and tell me if this game doesn’t look extremely sweet. It’s just another example of the many that we end up missing on.
The last item for today is not a game, but something many Ace Combat fans wondered about with the release of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. With Ace Combat 6 Namco Bandai released a bundle that included a neat flight stick and throttle combo, and quite a few wondered why nothing like that was offered this time around, especially considering that Assault Horizon is quite bigger in terms of marketing and budget.
The solution to that riddle is simple: the Flight stick for Assault Horizon does exist, but it’s not bundled with the game and, for now, is limited to Japan. The Hori Flight Stick EX2 will be available for both xbox 360 and PS3, guess what? On the 27th. It will be again made by two separate units, to allow gamers to keep the throttle on the left and the stick between their legs or on the right, and it looks really, really neat. No details have been given for a western release, unfortunately.
I guess I could have changed the headline to Akihabara Shopping: Cool Releases In Japan October the 27th, 2011… But anyway, this was the last one for this week. Do come back next week to see what your resident Japanophile will dig up. Tanoshimi ni!